Friday, 19 April 2013

How To Create A Herb Garden

A herb bouquet in my favourite jug
If you love the idea of growing your own produce but don't have the time, money or inclination to do too much hard work then a herb garden could be the perfect solution.

Herbs are cheap to buy and easy to grow. Many herbs such as rosemary and mint you really can just plant and then just leave them to it (with just a bit of watering if you have a very dry summer). Creating a herb garden is a fun activity to do with the children and allows them to learn about how plants grow.  It makes a fantastic sensory garden as they provide a range of beautiful scents and can be touched and eaten safely. My kids also find it really great fun to collect herbs for me to cook with.

The children love gardening
You don't need a large area to create your herb garden. You can use simple dividers such as pebbles to divide your herbs up but we brought a herb wheel as it looks nice and is an easy way to keep your herbs in check. The herb wheel came flat packed but was really easy to put together (and I am the worlds worst at most things DIY). Then put your herb wheel down in a sunny spot in your garden and fill each section with compost.

Then all you need to do is to decide which herbs to buy. You can get a large range of plants from most garden centres but we chose the following ones:

Rosemary - really easy to grow. It smells fantastic and has pretty blue flowers in the summer. A sprig of Rosemary adds flavour to lamb dishes and you can put it in the bath to soothe muscle aches and pains

Mint - the only problem you will have with this plant is that it grows too well and starts popping up everywhere in the garden! It's a great all rounder and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. Sprinkle over new potatoes or add sprigs to homemade lemonade. You can also steep it in boiling water to make mint tea - add a spoonful of sugar and this is a deliciously refreshing drink

Lavender - as well as looking lovely and smelling divine lavender can also be used in recipes such as lavender shortbread or lavender jelly. You can also dry the flowers to make pretty scented lavender bags. You just need to make sure you pick an edible variety.

Sage - another flavoursome herb which you can add to soups, stews and use to make stuffing

Chives- a member of the onion family you can simply chop a few off to add flavour to sauces. You can make a very easy dip by adding chopped chives and mint to some natural yoghurt.

Of course once the garden is planted you can add some finishing touches. We have some solar lights like these ones around our herb wheel so we can enjoy it at nighttime. We have also put some pretty pebbles around the edges so as well as being practical it also makes a lovely feature in the garden.

The finished herb garden
There are too many herb based recipes to list here but if you want to try and do some cooking with your herbs I can recommend the Delia Smith website for some great ideas.

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